India Domino’s, McDonald’s Operators Hurt by Bread Cancer Report

  • CSE study found 38 brands containing cancer-causing chemicals
  • Food regulator removes potassium bromate from additives list

A McDonald's bun used in a Big Mac sandwich.

Photographer: Andrey Rudakov/Bloomberg

The Indian operators of Domino’s Pizza Inc. and McDonald’s Corp. dropped after a local research agency said that burger and pizza bread sold at the fast-food outlets contained cancer-causing chemicals.

Jubilant Foodworks Ltd., a licensee of Domino’s, headed for a three-month low, while WestLife Development Ltd., which runs McDonald’s restaurants in western and southern India, slid 2 percent at 1:18 p.m. in Mumbai.

The Center for Science and Environment (CSE) said Monday its study found that 84 percent of 38 brands of ready-to-eat breads sold in Delhi by fast-food chains including Domino’s, McDonald’s and Subway, contain potassium bromate and potassium iodate. The chemicals are banned in many countries because they may cause cancer, the agency said. Jubilant and WestLife denied the New Delhi-based public interest researcher’s report.

Domino’s uses products approved by the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India and doesn’t treat the flour with the chemicals, Jubilant said in a statement. “The claims made by CSE in their press release and report are completely baseless,” Vikram Ogale, national supply chain director at McDonald’s India, said in an e-mailed statement. McDonald’s doesn’t use potassium bromate or potassium iodate in the flour and other ingredients used to make its buns, he said.

“Jubilant will be hurt in short term even though they have denied the CSE claims,” said Chinmay Madgulkar, an analyst at Taurus Asset Management Co. “Britannia won’t be hurt much as its market share is small in breads.”

Britannia Industries Ltd., India’s top biscuit maker by market value, dropped 2 percent, extending Monday’s 8.5 percent tumble. The company doesn’t use the two chemicals as ingredients in its bread recipes, it said in a statement. CSE’s research samples included brands made by the Bangalore-based company.

FSSAI has decided to remove potassium bromate from the list of permitted additives while it is examining evidence against potassium iodate before restricting its use, the Press Trust of India reported, citing Chief Executive Officer Pawan Kumar Agarwal.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.
LEARN MORE